23 November 2012

Around home

That phrase, "around home," rolls off the tongue too easily even though we're halfway around the world from our Texas home. But we're in countdown mode, and trying to experience everything here before we leave in January.
Our university had Sports Day, for which we had to reschedule our Friday classes. Fortunately the students alerted us the week before -- the official announcement of no classes on Friday reached us Thursday evening.
North of the campus is a range of hills, and we wondered what's up there. We found a reservoir behind a dam with a lake full of ducks.
A newly built home, in the skinny style that's popular here. In Vietnam we learned that taxes are based on footprint, so better to build up than spread out. But it has that essential modern feature, a garage.
Our balcony overlooks farm fields, but this is a new feature in our field of view, trash for landfill almost right below us. The trash collectors pedal up their tricycle cart, dump, and shovel over the edge.
We ask our Chinese colleagues if there are any concerts or other performances in the city, but we never hear of any. So we were surprised walking past the campus auditorium to find a full orchestra playing classical favorites. It must have been announced somehow, since it was full, but no one told us.
We don't teach on Thursdays, so it was easy for us to take a holiday for Thanksgiving. A knock on the door surprised us and Mei, the woman who studied English here but now has a flower shop in town, was there all dressed up with a big bouquet, a gift from her and our favorite student. Of course we invited her in for tea -- she said opening the flower shop could wait.
Thanksgiving dinner -- no turkey but excellent chicken breast from Walmart, scalloped potatoes, squash, beans, salad, wine from Chile and fresh bread -- what a feast!